How to meet the new Illinois PFAS standards
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strategy to address community contamination caused by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is rapidly evolving. Some recent developments in the EPA's PFAS Strategic Roadmap include adding five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to a list of risk-based values for site cleanups. The regulat...
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The what and why of Industrial Hygiene
Wipe samples are to test for contaminants on equipment surface. This was testing for beryllium. To prevent employees from getting sick or injured in the workplace, Industrial Hygiene (IH) Programs are necessary. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) defines Industrial Hygiene as the practice of anticipating, recognizing, evaluati...
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Evaluating the dangers of lead service pipes to keep the community's drinking water safe
 Although lead pipes are often thought of as relics of a bygone era, they are still a common component of water systems. Recent estimates indicate that up to 12.8 million homes in the U.S. are served by water systems with lead service lines, which are most common in older homes and infrastructure. In the past, lead was a common water service l...
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Fish kills: Should you be worried?
If you've noticed fish or other aquatic life beached or floating belly up in or around your river, lake, stream or pond, you may have a fish kill. Although nature sometimes plays a role when this happens, it's best to make sure the cause isn't because of your water body's health. A fish kill, also known as a fish die-off, is when a localized, but s...
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Proper soil remediation and disposal help mitigate contamination risks
Soil contamination in urban areas is mainly caused by activities like manufacturing, waste disposal, dry cleaning and industrial dumping. These practices often leave a trail of contaminants such as petroleum products, chlorinated solvents and heavy metals. Soil pollution presents a risk for human exposure to harmful chemicals through ingestion, inh...
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Using a chlorination process in wastewater treatments reduces E. coli
E. coli, one of the most common pathogens found in domestic wastewater, can cause gastroenteritis. This bacteria, which often lives in the digestive system, are one of many pathogens that can contaminate drinking and surface water. However, most pathogens are difficult to measure directly. Instead, a pathogen indicator can help detect fecal contami...
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Tackling lead service line replacement in Illinois with industry leaders
Lead service lines are common throughout the United States. For centuries, lead was the preferred element for plumbing. The word "plumber" even comes from the Latin word for lead. Lead pipes were popular because they resist pinhole leaks and can be easily bent to conform to the contours of buildings. Because of these advantages, water infrastructur...
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Calculating wastewater treatment plant construction costs
When building a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), municipal leaders are often baffled by their options and associated costs. To get started, they can estimate wastewater treatment plant construction costs at three increasingly granular levels. First-order costs: All construction costs for complete treatment plants. Second-order costs: Costs for sp...
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Traffic Impact Studies: Understanding when and why you need them
A proposed land development, redevelopment or rezoning project requires Traffic Impact Studies to evaluate whether transportation infrastructure can support additional trips a project will generate. For developers and municipal stakeholders, Traffic Impact Studies provide critical information about land use and planning decisions. Below, we discuss...
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Small town revitalization grants spur redevelopment
Small town revitalization seeks to improve livability and economic activity in small towns. Increasing urbanization, aging infrastructure and the ongoing pandemic have all put a strain on available resources. Small town revitalization grants, however, offer funding to spur redevelopment projects. The approach your town takes to revitalization will ...
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The new definition of Recognized Environmental Condition
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International recently submitted a new standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for review. The E1527-21 standard clarifies the definitions of Recognized Environmental Condition (REC), Historical Recognized Environmental ...
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Preventative maintenance: What’s the big deal?
Preventative maintenance helps maintain or extend the life of a product by proactively performing inspections and maintenance in a timely manner. This concept might seem simple. For example, if you purchase a new car, it initially has little maintenance. If you keep up with scheduled oil changes and have recommended parts inspected periodically, it...
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How to manage the wastewater phosphorus removal process to meet new EPA standards
To protect receiving bodies of water and avoid eutrophication, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has encouraged states to adopt Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus Numeric Water Quality Standards. These numeric criteria help identify and list impaired waters, develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and write National Pollutant Discha...
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Budgeting for underground storage tank removal
For a developer or a municipality involved in a land remediation project, finding an underground storage tank (UST) on the property can have various implications, including: Risks of potential tank leakage.Reduction in property valuation.Increased project costs. Environmental hazards associated with underground storage tanks call for adding conting...
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Emerging contaminants of concern in your Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
There is an updated standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), courtesy of ASTM International. The revised standard, known as ASTM E-1527-21, includes directions for addressing emerging contaminants in ESAs. Municipalities and developers conducting due diligence for contaminated land remediation projects should be aware ...
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What is a typical wastewater treatment plant life expectancy?
Municipal wastewater treatment systems across the U.S. are facing pressure to improve their performance without increasing costs. However, the average wastewater treatment plant life expectancy is 40 to 50 years, and treatment equipment typically lasts 15 to 20 years. As a result, a majority of Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) established in ...
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How to correct effluent exceedances
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established effluent guidelines for wastewater discharged to surface waters. The effluent limits are enforceable parameters that dictate the amount and type of pollutants present in water facilities' discharge, including Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs). Below, we discuss the types of effluen...
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How do brownfield tax credits work?
Federal, state and local tax incentives and credits support brownfield redevelopment by providing site developers with financial assistance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extends brownfield tax credits through various federal and state programs that: Let a brownfield developer redirect financial resources that are otherwise used to...
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Establishing a wastewater treatment plant maintenance schedule
Operation and Maintenance (O&M) at a Publicly Owned Treatment Work (POTW) is a constant battle against the forces of time and nature. The contaminants being treated can deteriorate reinforced concrete while turbulent flows and suspended solids can erode steel structures. This highlights the need for a regular wastewater treatment plant maintena...
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Experts bring value during lead and asbestos inspection
 Most people are aware that lead and asbestos exposure can have health-threatening consequences. When there is cause for concern, being aware of the dangers of asbestos, lead and other toxins – and knowing how to prevent and remove them safely – is the first step. Inspections by licensed experts who test for lead and asbestos can ensure safety...
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